Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Linval Joseph was among nine victims injured by a lone gunman who opened fire in a Minneapolis nightclub on Saturday night. Only one of those injured was believed to be the intended target for the crime, beleived to be gang-related.
"Joseph, 25, the injured Viking, was described by the team in a statement as an 'innocent bystander,'” reports the Star Tribune. "He was hit in the calf by a stray bullet. The injury was minor, and he was treated and released at a hospital, the Vikings said."
Following their win against the Oakland Raiders during their preseason opener, Joseph and his teammates were in the back of the Soundbar nightclub when the shots were fired. The club was asked by city officials to close following the shooting.
“Suddenly, a person just pop, pop, pop,” Soundbar owner Johann Sfaellos explains to the Star Tribune. “The whole thing was surreal. It was out of the blue. It was a normal night, nice party, nice crowd. And then some guy started shooting. No arguments, no nothing.” Security claims clubgoers were checked for weapons prior to entering the establishment.
In an official statement on the Vikings' website, Joseph says, "I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and concerns over the past 24 hours. I am extremely thankful that this was a minor injury for me. As the team has communicated, this was an unfortunate situation where I, along with several others, was an innocent bystander to a senseless act. My thoughts are with all of the victims at this time. I am looking forward to getting back onto the field with my teammates in the near future."
Sfaellos says the gunman "dropped the gun and disappeared," the Star Tribune further reports. Police are accepting tips to identify the mysterious attacker. Contact information can be found here.